Monday, July 7, 2014

Sitting on the dock of the bay

Vacation Sydney Australia; I really wasn’t happy about it but the tickets had been paid for and there was no refund available so I bit the bullet and went.  Fifty seven years old with fifty eight just around the corner; I was pretty much sick of my life, I dreamed of a change.

Sitting along the harbor wall watching the ferries come and go I was quite bored with the whole thing; my thoughts kept creeping back to having a nice glass of Pinot Nor, maybe a couple glasses.  The bench was hard and uncomfortable, my ass was starting to cramp and I was just about to get up and walk for a spell when I realized that something was happening on the far side of the harbor.  Squinting to see through the glare of the afternoon sun all I could make out was that people were running and screaming; it was getting louder with each second.   Shielding my eyes with my hand from the sun I could just make out a tide of people running along the wharf and bodies lying all over the cement behind the rushing hoard; as I watched those towards the back of the stampede were falling and joining the mass of fallen bodies.  It was like a wave was coursing along the wharf dropping people with an increasing speed; the fastest runners were just barely keeping out in front of the speeding wave but when they’d slow to dodge slower runners the wave would over take them and they’d fall with the rest.
I sat and watched as the bodies fell along the far side of the harbor and continued through the waiting areas of the docked ferries.  It was like watching domino’s fall; the invisible wave raced along through the crowds. People dropped in mid sentence talking with wives and children; some standing along the harbor walls fell, bounced off the low wall and rolled into the water; none fought once they hit the water they must have been dead before they even hit the ground; they just rolled like rag dolls in the harbor surf.

I very nice looking Asia girl brushed past me hitting my arm pulling my attention from the racing doom; she was maybe sixteen, about a hundred pounds with Converse tennis shoes and a short skirt.  She turned and looked right into my eyes.  They said in silence the same thing I was thinking; we’re fucked.  I shrugged my shoulders and smiled; she broke and ran for her life.

I must be morbid, I just couldn’t pull my eyes from the falling people; it was incredible.  I guess I had already made a decision to just sit and watch the wave come until it over took me; some place deep in my mind I knew at my age that running would just make me die tired; so I sat and watched it come.

The wave raced up the walk ways to my left dropping people in mid stride; French fries hitting the ground in their little round cups spilling out onto the cement.  The sea gulls where diving and swarming over the growing feast of falling food as people hit the walk and lunch flew from dead hands.  Two gulls had a full hamburger in their mouths and flew straight up trying to break each other’s grip.  I watched as a family of four was cut down; mom carrying a small baby with a pacifier in its mouth.  A gull swooped and grabbed the pacifier on the first bounce; it was chased by two other gulls eager for a meal.

Two bodies from an upper balcony fell and bounced on the concrete walk way hitting just seconds after the wave downed those standing below, they made a neat pile two deep in a vast field of the dead.

I figured I had maybe ten seconds before the wave over took where I was sitting watching; I took a deep breath and held it as the wave raced to me.  Funny thing was, in my head I singing the Otis Redding song “Sitting on the dock of the bay” I’d just got to the part “Watching the waves roll away” when my wave struck.  A young couple had been standing only about four feet in front of me watching the wave come in too; they fell at my feet as the wave passed leaving me sitting wondering why I’d be spared.  I finished the next verse of the song and released my held breath. Just the salty smell of the harbor with a tint of fishy smell greeted my nose; not at all what I was expecting.

I had been so engrossed watching the wave knock people down that I didn’t even see the Manning Ferry racing towards its dock at full speed.  The decks where covered in fallen people, a few dangling over the edges of the rails, swinging back and forth with the rocking of the ferry.  The ferry hit the dock plowing into the building smashing the wooden dock and knocking the roof off sliding in to the pedestrian area.  I watched as a street vender food cart was smashed flat, spilling its hot oil across the pavers.  Flames leaped across the walkway and into a nearby cafĂ©; I don’t think the Fire Department is going to show up flashed across my mind.  It was time to leave, leave before the fire really got going. 

I stood looking the way the wave had gone, no one was standing as far as I could see, just fields of bodies.  I guess through the adjoining park would be the smartest way to go, so I picked up my lunch bag and headed that way.

A half mile or so along the park I heard a small child crying; little girl maybe four sitting by her dead parents.  I put out my hand and she took it; we walked away from the raging fires of down town Sydney on into the night.

From the Ramblings